The Belknap White Group to represent Questech


White niche, Classic Polished White.


Mansfield, Massachusetts. The Belknap White Group (BWG), one of America’s leading full-service flooring distributors, has announced it will be distributing Questech’s Dorset™ Collection throughout all of New England, New York and New Jersey… effective immediately.

Starlight Mosaic, with border.

Vista Mosaic, Cityscape Tile and Magnetic Wall Plate.



















Questech is the world’s leading maker of decorative tiles and accessories in cast metal and cast stone. Recognized for superior design, innovation and craftsmanship, Questech produces high-quality products in premium materials for architects, builders, home designers and consumers. For more than a quarter-century, Questech products have been expertly crafted with pride in Vermont, USA. All materials are sourced in the USA and contain real premium metals and natural stones.

Soapstone, with Cityscape Copper, Hammered.


“In addition to the incredibly innovative and extensive product offerings from Questech, we truly appreciate the tiles are made right here in the USA,” stated Dave Godlewski, Vice President of Ceramic at The Belknap White Group. “Our team puts a lot of effort into scouting and ultimately, providing materials that meet trending products. Couple that with ‘Made in America’ and we have a win-win situation for everyone.”


The Dorset™ Collection from Questech includes a comprehensive range of products including cast stone tiles, cast metal tiles, and a wide offering of decorative accessories, as well.


Peter Schelle, Vice President of Sales at Questech commented, “We are very enthusiastic about working with the Belknap White Group. With their keen marketing and business plan combined with our extensive line of our products, which deliver some ‘bling’ to their showrooms, everyone prospers. From our gorgeous metal and stone bath shelves to decorative liners and wall plates, the Belknap White Group now has all the finishing touches to offer their customers.”

Tesselle rolls out new Neoterra cement tile designs

New, Novel and Noteworthy: Neoterra

Neoterra 8″ Cement Tiles, available exclusively from Tesselle, are designed to take your surfaces to the next level with patterning options, ranging from small scale to large, that are virtually limitless.

Neoterra Icicle in a large-scale design covering surface that is 160″x96″, shown above.  Scroll down to see more options.

  Above:  Neoterra Icicle in 6 different layouts that cover a 32″ square surface.  Single 8″x8″ tiles in Icicle and Nightshade.

Pictured is Tesselle designer Karin Jeske. The Tesselle pop-up shop will be at The Design Quarter in Fashion Island in Newport Beach, CA, across from Urban Outfitters until 12/31/18. For more information, call 951-781-3000 or email [email protected].

In Memory: Richard M. Maurer

After 24 years as Director of Marketing & International Sales with The Noble Company, Richard Maurer moved to the position of Outside Consultant for the company in July. He passed away peacefully on October 30, 2018.

Richard M. Maurer 76, of Grand Haven, Michigan passed away peacefully on Tuesday October 30, 2018.

Richard was born January 30, 1942 in Burbank California. He graduated from UCLA in 1964 with a B.S. in Finance and has over 40 years of sales and marketing management experience between Dow Chemical Company and the Noble Company.

Richard was a veteran if the United States Army serving his country during the Vietnam War, earning a Purple Heart.

Richard is survived by his children a son, Michael Maurer of Grand Haven, daughter Vernice Branch of San Diego, California, along with her husband, Stephen Branch; grandchildren Tyrus and Cole, his sister Judy (Don) Sterner of San Clemente, California; nephew Mark (Dawn) Sterner of Aptos; nephew, Orian Stener; grand-niece Xena.

Richard was an amazing human being, an incredible father, wonderful grandfather, thoughtful uncle, loving brother and great friend to all who knew him. A Celebration of Life Gathering with a luncheon was held on Monday, November 19th at St. Patrick- St. Anthony Catholic Church from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. with Military Honors being bestowed at 1:15 p.m. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be directed to The Wounded Warrior Project, Catholic Charities of West Michigan or Hospice of North Ottawa Community.

To read how Richard touched the life of his friends and colleagues, visit

For service details or to leave a note of remembrance for the family, please visit

Emser Tile Opens Newest Distribution Centers in Texas and Florida

Company expands Central U.S., Florida operations to facilitate continued growth


LOS ANGELES – Emser Tile, the leading designer, marketer and producer of the world’s finest tile and natural stone, builds on its central United States presence with a relocated and expanded 600,000-square-foot Central Distribution Center in Houston, Texas, and joins the Coral Springs, Florida, community with a new 215,000-square-foot Florida Distribution Center.

The state-of-the-art facilities are a manifestation of the company’s dedication to each region and expand Emser Tile’s resources to account for increased customer demand. The distribution centers support the region’s homebuilders, retailers, and commercial architects and designers with local service and increased inventory.

The Central and Florida Distribution Centers employ more than 145 jobs within both communities, recruited through partnerships with local colleges and organizations, as well as relocating current associates in Houston, Texas.

“Since 2000 and 2006, we have been honored to serve the respective Texas and Florida communities,” shared Barbara Haaksma, vice president of marketing for Emser Tile. “Emser Tile is proud to contribute to beautiful spaces through design-forward products and robust partner support.”

Headquartered in Los Angeles, the company celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Emser Tile currently operates ten Texas-based and six Florida-based showroom and service centers, with the most recent openings taking place in Southeast Houston and Fort Myers, Florida. The company manages four distribution centers in North America, with other locations in Ontario, California, and Suffolk, Virginia.

Emser Tile Celebrates 50 Years of Exceptional Design and Service

Strong culture, design-forward products contribute to company’s evolution and success


LOS ANGELES – Emser Tile, a leading designer, marketer and producer of the world’s finest tile and natural stone, is honored to celebrate 50 years of business with its associates and partners. The company’s family-like culture has been a hallmark since its beginning in 1968.

Emser first entered the residential market selling luxury carpets and rugs, while also investing in commercial and residential real estate holdings. In 1973, Emser expanded into the tile and stone industry, which became the company’s core business by the 1990s. Early partners were in the homebuilder market, followed by an expansion into the commercial sector, providing wall and flooring solutions for major department stores, government offices and resort hotels across the country.

Rooted in relationships, Emser Tile’s key to growth remains its underlying values of perseverance, respect and integrity — values the company championed since the beginning and will carry on to the next generation.

Emser Tile corporate team associates

“As we look ahead to the next 50 years, Emser Tile’s continued success will draw upon its legacy of strong family values combined with an unparalleled dedication to our customers and associates,” shared Carl Delia, president of Emser Tile.

Today, Emser Tile employs more than 1,100 associates nationwide in more than 75 sales and service locations, including four state-of-the-art distribution centers in California, Texas, Virginia and Florida. The company currently offers an expanse of more than 200 tile and natural stone collections.


About Emser Tile LLC – Emser Tile is the largest privately held designer and marketer of tile and natural stone products in the United States. Our principal offering includes an extensive line of ceramic, porcelain, natural stone and decorative products to service the design and product needs of our customers. Our products are distributed nationally through a company-owned network of local sales and service locations. The company’s products are used extensively in new home construction, remodel applications as well as commercial projects including multi-family housing, hospitality, shopping centers, office buildings and educational facilities. For more information, please visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest @EmserTile.

Visalia Ceramic Tile honored for apprenticeship training

In October, NTCA Five-Star Contractor Visalia Ceramic Tile (VCT) was awarded the UpSkill Tulare County Award from the Tulare County Workforce Investment Board on behalf of the City of Visalia. In his congratulations letter to VCT, Vice Mayor Bob Link praised VCT for “being a quality employer in our

VCT was exemplary in implementing an apprenticeship program for its company and sharing its process with Thad Russell, Academic Dean, Technical Education and Workforce Development at the junior college, College of the Sequoias. 

The list of UpSkill Honorees

The list of UpSkill Honorees.

Debbi Barton, Marketing Director and Payroll Manager for Visalia Ceramic Tile, said Russell had been concerned about the lack of apprenticeship programs in construction. VCT’s Sam Bruce shared with Russell the tile finisher program VCT would be implementing – the online program from NTCA University. Once implemented, Russell was struck by how VCT was enriching the skilled and trained workforce in the community. He explored with Bruce VCT’s experience of getting an apprenticeship program approved. 

This effort is even more critical since the passage of California AB566 – a new California law that requires 30% of labor on certain projects to have graduated from an apprenticeship program. This prompted many California construction trades to reach out to different organizations and schools to implement apprenticeship programs, Barton said. In fact, it spurred Russell to explore VCT’s program, with guidance from Sam Bruce, who met with other contractors and college personnel to share VCT’s process. As a result, Russell nominated VCT for the UpSkill Tulare Country Award, which was presented in recognition of the essential effort and information shared by VCT. The award is given by the Tulare County Workforce Investment Board (TCWIB). TCWIB’s goal is to grow skills and talent for the workforce of Tulare County.

The UpSkill Tulare County Award presented to VCT

The UpSkill Tulare County Award was presented to (L to R) John Martinho, Debbi Barton and Sam Bruce of Visalia Ceramic Tile to recognize the company for being a quality employer in the community.

Vice Mayor Link wrote in his letter, “Forming a registered apprenticeship program through the U.S. Department of Labor that connects instruction with relevant, hands-on experience for your employees is demonstrating a clear commitment to investing in your workforce and growing the skills and knowledge base of our citizens, and the community and economy is better for it. The City appreciates your efforts in growing a skilled workforce and formal recognition from College of the Sequoias and the Workforce Investment Board is well deserved.” 

Debbi Barton explained that “Currently we have graduated four tile finishers in the apprenticeship program and have started our next group of four trainees.” Leading this program is Ryan Barton, Training and Development Coordinator/Quality Control.

“Although all eight employees have been with VCT as tile finishers for two years or more, the knowledge they gained/are gaining from the program has been recognized by their foremen and coworkers,” she added. “Between bookwork, online training, hands-on training and field training, our tile finishers are skilled and trained with the knowledge and success of moving up in their career. We are proud of our employees and their drive to want to learn more! Thank you NTCA for your guidance and help setting up the program. We look forward to the Tile Setter program.”

VCT training program

Lack of weep holes, uncollapsed mortar ridges may cause stone darkening in showers

An ongoing issue with stone shower installations is that sometimes stone showers mysteriously discolor or appear to not drain. There are various conditions and situations when this appears, and a range of explanations why this happens.

Recently a NTCA Five-Star Contractor had a problem with a Calacatta marble tile shower, installed with 4” x 4” tileable drains, utilizing a topical waterproof membrane system. The contractor reported that the waterproofing used is not leaking, the slope is done according to code and the thin-set mortar was chosen appropriately for the installation system and white marble. These topical membrane systems and drain assemblies are sometimes used in lieu of a traditional mortar bed shower pan application with weep holes.

The contractor contacted the manufacturer rep as well as the tile supplier, asking, “We are wondering if the water infiltrates the white marble from the exposed edges around the drain enclosures, and because of its porous nature, and because of the waterproofing underneath, it is taking much longer to dry.” 

Mark Heinlein, NTCA Training Director, enlisted the help of other industry experts to provide an answer, as well as giving his expert opinion.

“There is indeed concern in the tile industry regarding the situation you described,” Heinlein said. “The NTCA’s Technical Committee has been giving this issue serious consideration and has appointed a subcommittee to gather data in an attempt to quantify and hopefully identify the nature of the problem. To help me respond to your question, I have addressed Mr. Martin Brookes and Mr. Steve Young, who have been the persons actively pursuing the causes of this issue.”

Martin Brookes, of NTCA Five-Star Contractor Heritage Tile and Marble in Mill Valley, Calif., offered these thoughts: “The problem with this type of shower pan assembly is that there is no accommodation for a weep system and all water is evacuated topically. This in turn could create a problem around the drain with light colored stones or transparent tile,” he said. “The moisture can’t evacuate like a traditional water-in/water-out shower pan liner with a weep system. In addition, since the stone material is directly bonded to the membrane, allowing no room for error in the installation process, water can pool under the tile especially if the ridges are not fully collapsed. It is my opinion that if this type of system is used with the light colored stones or transparent tile, proper slope, mortar coverage and troweling techniques must be used to prevent any water accumulating underneath the tile surface.” Steve Young of Steve Young & Associates, White Plain, Ga., concurred.

Heinlein provided the contractor with documentation they could present to the client to address a similar problem on other showers on a current project.

“Page 252 of the 2018 NTCA Reference Manual is a sample letter (with photos) to prospective clients regarding this matter,” Heinlein said. “I have also spoken with James Woelfel, Chairman of the NTCA’s Technical Committee. James concurs with Martin’s assessment in that it is likely the troweled mortar ridges under the tile on the pan are not fully collapsed. This allows water to run under the tile through the bond coat and on top of the waterproofing membrane until it hits the drain assembly, where it then begins to pool in the uncollapsed ridges and is further absorbed by the tile. Additionally, there are some concerns that the stone could be sourced from quarries around the world and may be a similar species as Calacatta Marble, but may not have the same properties as Calacatta Marble.”

The contractor was elated at the information and solution to the mystery. “Thanks so much all!” she said. “We are so grateful to have such accessible expert resources!”

Association leadership takes NTCA to new level with apprenticeship programs

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” 

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

My autumn feels a bit off balance. Why? I missed being with you all in Grapevine, Texas last month at the Total Solutions Plus conference. Family medical matters needed my attention, but I kept track online and on social media, and even called in to a planning meeting one day. I look forward to seeing you all at one of the trade shows and conference in 2019!

Those of you who did attend Total Solutions Plus undoubtedly engaged in a lot of discussion about qualified labor and the lack thereof, as well as training, apprenticeship and ways to recruit new tile setters into the fold. NTCA has always been synonymous with training, from the early days of the “road shows” – but association leadership is taking it to a new level with NTCA University’s Apprenticeship programs. Not only that, NTCA is working with the Department of Labor to offer curriculum for acceptance as a nationally-recognized Tile Finisher Apprenticeship Program and Tile Setter Apprenticeship Program that will combine online education, classroom lessons, and on-the-job learning. NTCA is developing resources for its members to announce and promote these training opportunities in high schools, technical and trade schools and career awareness programs. In fact, take a look at Becky Serbin’s NTCA University Update this month, which goes into more detail about this process.

In this issue, we also take a peek at Five-Star Contractor Visalia Ceramic Tile and their recognition for offering an apprenticeship program using the NTCA resources. This program added the skills and knowledge basis in the construction trades in Tulare County and the city of Visalia.

NTCA’s Director of Technical Services Stephanie Samulski had a presence at the triennial BAC/IMI national trowel trades competition that put the book and practical knowledge of 13 apprentices to the test. The apprentices won local and regional competitions in order to qualify for this stringent competition administered by the International Masonry Training and Education Foundation (IMTEF).

And those of you who attended Coverings in Atlanta earlier this year may have ogled the stunning Mercedes-Benz Stadium – home to the Atlanta Falcons – not far from the Convention Center. In our cover story, go inside the impressive structure and learn about the intricacies of installing 20,000 sq. ft. of porcelain tile in this LEED Platinum building.

Finally, it being November, it is customary to contemplate our blessings and abundance as we ramp up to Thanksgiving. I’m grateful to be involved in an industry packed with passion, craftsmanship, creativity, dedication and pride and to be working for an association that reflects the same. Our staff has expanded this year and I’m grateful for the fresh skills and perspectives our new hires bring – as well as the longstanding work of existing staffers and incredible support from our volunteer members through our board and our State Ambassadors.

What are you grateful for? Send me an email and celebrate your abundance!

God bless,
[email protected]

Results are “Clearly Better” with New DAP® Ultra Clear™ All Purpose Waterproof Sealant

Ultra Clear™ Delivers Superior Performance to Silicone Sealants

 BALTIMORE, Md. (November 8, 2018) – When it comes to selecting a tough high-performance, sealant, the choice is clear. Ultra Clear™ Flexible All Purpose Waterproof Sealant from DAP®, a leader in the home improvement and construction products industry, outperforms the competition with its superior flexibility that won’t crack and clearer-than-silicone finish that stays crystal clear.

“Professionals and do-it-yourselfers have relied on DAP for years to provide superior sealing solutions for all types of interior and exterior projects, and Ultra Clear is no exception,” said Jennifer Johnson, Group Product Director at DAP. “This versatile, crystal clear formula can be used for sealing just about everything from the kitchen sink to gutters and flashing on your roof. It stops leaks instantly with its strong wet surface adhesion while maintaining its crystal clear appearance for a seamless, professional-looking finish.”


Ultra Flexible and Versatile

Developed for a broad range of interior and exterior projects, Ultra Clear stays permanently flexible, even in cold weather, providing a 100 percent waterproof and weatherproof seal to keep out water, air and moisture for years without cracking or breaking down. It has strong adhesion to a wide variety of building materials such as wood, glass, metal, tile, brick and stone, without tearing or pulling away. It can even be applied in low temperatures (20°F) and on wet surfaces to stop leaks instantly and save time.


Ultra Clear

Unlike silicone, Ultra Clear applies crystal clear and stays crystal clear with no hazing or yellowing over time. Once cured, it’s also mold and mildew resistant, which combined with the crystal clear clarity, results in a seamless blend with the surface and a better finished appearance.


Ultra Easy

Ultra Clear is available in a 10.1 fl. oz. cartridge and 5 fl. oz. squeeze tube. The easy-to-use 5.0 fl. oz squeeze tube eliminates the need for a caulk gun and is ideal for smaller jobs, getting into tight spaces or when working on a ladder. Ultra Clear is easy to apply, paintable and water-ready immediately for quicker resistance to water damage and wash-out.

Ultra Clear can be found at your local home improvement retailer – just look for the blue tip. For more information, visit

Certified Tile Installer (CTI) Program Achieves #1500 Milestone

Certified Tile Installer (CTI) Program Achieves Milestone

Alex Smith (l) of North Carolina’s Installations by Alex, Certified Tile Installer #1500, with CTEF’s Scott Carothers


The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) which provides education and installer certification for professionals working in the ceramic tile and stone industry proudly announces that it has achieved a new milestone for the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program with the certification of CTI #1500.

The CTI Program Combats Poor Tile Installation

Established in 2008 to create a pool of recognized high-quality tile installers and combat poor installation, and with strong support from leaders of the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), Tile Council of North America (TCNA), and the entire tile industry, the CTI program reached 1000 certified installers in 2014.

Reaching 1500 certified installers in October 2018 means that reaching 2000 CTIs by the end of 2019 is achievable as the program’s momentum grows.

Introducing CTI #1500: Alex Smith, Installations by Alex

Alex Smith has been involved in custom tile installation since 2005.  Based in the mountains of North Carolina, he began working in the industry under the guidance of John Buford of the Stone Cavern. He went on to form Installations by Alex and specializes in luxury residential homes. He does a significant amount of work for Bill Dacchille of Dacchille Construction, as well as other contractors and homeowners.

A lifelong artist, Alex was initially trained in concert dance and is currently the board president for Dance Project Inc., a statewide arts organization.  “I am honored to be a Ceramic Tile Education Foundation Certified Tile Installer,” says Alex.

“The Toughest 25 Square Feet of Tile You’ll Ever Install”

Not everyone passes the hands-on portion of the Certified Tile Installer program test. In fact, Alex Smith was originally tested in 2015 and did not complete the installation in the allotted time. He explained, “Contrary to my expectation, the hands-on is by far the more challenging portion of the test. I was fairly confident in my quality of work going into the hands-on test. What I was not expecting was the difficulty in completing the assignment in the allotted time frame.  Even considering the small size of the area defined by the test, it is rare that I have to complete all phases of an install in one continuous session.”

Why Become a Certified Tile Installer?

Certified Tile Installers detail many benefits to becoming CTIs, ranging from achieving a competitive edge and bragging rights, to improving the tile industry, keeping up with tile industry education and current installation information, to avoiding failures and validating one’s skills as an installer.

For Alex Smith, it’s about providing customers with confirmation that he is Qualified Labor. He said, “Though the national standards have been in place for some time, the lack of an agency to educate and accredit installers has allowed the quality of installation work in the industry to be sporadic at best. The CTI is a tool that I am using to assure my clients that they are not just taking a ‘chance’ with their tile installation project.  My CTI helps to validate that I care about the quality of my work and want to provide a product that has a sound foundation for longevity of use.”

Tile Industry Recognized Certification

The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation offers the only tile industry recognized certification test validating the skills and knowledge of the installer.  This industry certification will become even more important as consumers, homebuilders, general contractors, specifiers and designers seek qualifications through programs such as industry certification.

The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) which sponsors the CTI program is supported by all segments of the ceramic tile industry. CTEF is headquartered in Pendleton, South Carolina, near Clemson University and the offices of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA).

To learn more about the Certified Tile Installer program, visit

# # #

About the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation

The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) provides training education and installer certification for professionals working in the ceramic tile and stone industry. Certification programs include the CTEF Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program which is the only third-party assessment of installer skill and knowledge recognized by the tile industry, and the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT). For more information, visit

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